Sauza Tres Generaciones Plata Silver Tequila: Best Blanco Tequila
Price: £54 |
This unaged, clear tequila is triple distilled for an exceptionally smooth sipping experience, with slight hints of citrus, floral notes and white pepper. Theres no throat burning with this premium tequila from Sauza, named for the three generations of their family who have been making their tequila since 1873.
In fact, theyre one of the most awarded families of tequilas, with six gongs at the International Wine & Spirits Competition, one of the most prestigious in the industry. Its clean, fresh tasting and well balanced.
Key specs Alcohol content: 38% Bottle size: 70cl Type: Blanco
Caballito Cerrero Chato Aejo
Caballito Cerrero, founded by Don Alfonso Jiménez Rosales, a co-founder of Tequila Herradura in Amatitán, has rejected the tequila Appellation of Origin so it can make this unique mezcal de tequila, officially labeled destilado de agave, free of the limitations and costs imposed by the powerful bureaucracy. The key to this exquisite añejo is a combination of estate-grown blue agave, water from an uphill spring, and open-air fermentation.
Best Overall: Don Julio 1942
Luxury option from a well-known brand
Looks great on any bar
In 1942, Julio González, founder of Don Julio, finally secured the funds to make his dream of opening a distillery come true. That same year, he founded his first distillery La Primavera in the highlands of Jalisco and embarked upon his tequila-making journey. By planting his agave slightly farther apart, he found that he got a sweeter, smoother spirit. From there, Don Julio has become one of the best-known tequila brands in the world.
Its fitting, then, that the brands most iconic bottle be named after the year everything started. Aged for a minimum of 2.5 years in American oak barrels, this bottle is synonymous with luxury tequila. Its notes of butterscotch, white pepper, and tropical fruit make it a delight to enjoy all evening.
Aged: 2.5 years in white American oak barrels | TastingNotes: Butterscotch, white pepper, and tropical fruit
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There’s A Great Tequila For Every Taste And Budget
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Whether you enjoy tequila shots or want to mix up a great , todays tequila market offers many excellent choices. Blanco tequilas are the most versatile and often preferred because they cost less, while the aged tequilasreposado and añejoare a nice upgrade worthy of the occasional splurge. For most styles, the best tequilas include the words “100 percent Blue Weber Agave” on the label, and you will pay a little extra for premium brands, but the majority of these are relatively affordable.
That means there’s no need to hesitate about mixing any of these best tequilas into your favorite cocktails.
Casamigos Tequila is a perfect introduction to premium tequilas. The portfolio follows the basic grading system for tequilas, which is standard for most brands and includes a blanco, reposado, and añejo tequila.
Bottle Size: 750 milliliters | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, citrus, cream | ABV: 40% | Region: Jalisco
Best White: Arette Blanco Tequila
I like tequilas that have a strong family history and choose to do the right thing for the land and the people, says Dean Hurst, beverage director for Datz Restaurant Group. Each bottle is made with care in the town of Tequila, right outside Guadalajara. The brand is still run by the Orendain brothers, who are descendants of some of the oldest tequila producers in the country. That said, the tequila still holds the same quality it did generations ago, with flavors of jackfruit, lime zest, and green pepper.
Give your margarita some punch with Arette Blanco, a steal for a cheaper tequila, says Hurst. He also recommends the distillerys reposado because it’s a great sipper and adds complexity to the paloma cocktail.
Hope Ray, a bartender at The Holler in Bentonville, Arkansas, reaches for Agavales Blanco because it often runs under $20, so you cant go wrong with this in your home bar. The budget bottle clocks in at a spicy 110 proof, so it’ll add a little heat in each sip. Because it’s on the lower end of the price scale, it’s not as elegant in cocktails as some other options are.
That said, it makes a great margarita and an easy shooter, says Ray. If you want a crowd-pleasing bottle, this is the one. Consider putting it in the freezer before enjoying. By chilling it down, the cold temperatures will balance out the higher-proof burn of making shots with this tequila.
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Does Tequila Have To Be 100 Blue Agave
Tequila is made from blue agave, but it does not have to be 100% agave. Many tequilas will advertise themselves as 100% Blue Agave, but the legal requirement is 51%. Distillers are allowed to fill out the rest with a neutral spirit made from cane sugar juice, creating what is known as a mixto tequila.
Best Overall: Fuenteseca Cosecha 2018
Region: Jalisco, Mexico | ABV: 45.7% | Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, Olive, Brine
This tequila is a cult favorite among experts, as Yana Volfson, the beverage manager at Cosme and ATLA restaurants in New York, calls it beautiful. Enrique Fuenteseca, the farmer and distiller behind the bottle, chooses the ripest agave in his own estate, subjects the piñas to the autoclave-and-roller mill treatment, and lets the pot-distilled spirit rest in stainless steel tanks afterward for three years. The resulting blanco, says Grover Sanschagrin, is super heavy on the cinnamon, olive, and brine notesits just amazing. Perfect for tequila aficionados, the limited-production Fuenteseca Cosecha 2013 is a worthy collectible.
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Whats The Proper Way To Taste Tequila
Shooting tequila with lime and salt is a hard habit to break. But in truth, thats no way to appreciate this complex and nuanced spirit. To drink tequila like a real connoisseur, follow these simple guidelines.
- After pouring about 1 ounce of tequila in a brandy snifter, hold the snifter at the base . Appreciate the color of the tequila by raising the snifter to eye level.
- Swirl the tequila gently to the left for about 1 minute. Does the tequila cling to the side of the glass before falling slowly to form whats called the string of pearls effect?
- After taking a small sip, keep the tequila between your lips and tip of your tongue for about 10 seconds. Swish the tequila around the inside of your mouth before swallowing. Let the flavors come to you.
Whats most important is to find out which tequila you like best. That way, whether you mix tequila into a margarita or drink it straight, youll always be satisfied. When sampling tequila, pay attention to what kind of tequila youre trying. Here are the primary kinds of tequila:
What Is The Difference Between Tequila Colors
Most gold tequilas get their color from the caramel coloring added to the tequila before fermentation. Gold tequilas are not typically aged, and usually contain only about 51% agave tequila. Sometimes 100% agave gold tequila is made by combining silver tequila and an aged tequila, such as reposado or añejo.
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Corazon Buffalo Trace Old 22 Aejo
This is a whiskey lovers tequila. Its aged at least 22 months in barrels that once held Buffalo Trace whiskey, and it has notes of vanilla, oak, and bread, followed by a creamy finish. Its yellow-green hue reminded some of our tasters of Sauvignon Blanc, and it is similarly silky and acidic. Average price: $89.
Danos Dangerous Tequila Aejo
One of the most-awarded bottles on our list, Danos Añejo Tequila is aged 18 months in virgin French white oak barrels and produced using 100% agave at a family-owned distillery that dates back to 1840. A small sip reveals aromas of roasted agave with woody notes, before the tequila opens up with hints of caramel, coconut and oak.
Founded in Steamboat Springs, Colorado in 2018, Danos Tequila just won Best in Class Añejo at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Danos also won the Gold Medal in the 2019 Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Tasting Competition, and the Double Gold and Gold in the 2018 SIP Awards.
Think of this as the cognac of tequila best for sipping neat, or with an ice cube.
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How Much Tequila Do You Put In A Margarita
For a single margarita, a 1.5-ounce shot of tequila is standard. It is typically equal to the total volume of the other two ingredients . For instance, the classic margarita formula is three parts tequila, two parts triple sec, and one part lime juice. This is adjusted to taste, pouring more triple sec for a sweeter margarita or extra lime to increase the tartness.
When sizing the margarita up to a pitcher, simply increase the ingredients and keep them in proportion. For example, in the typical half-gallon pitcher, you would combine 3.75 cups tequila, 2.5 cups orange liqueur, and 1.25 cup lime juice. This makes 7.5 cups, leaving room in the pitcher for you to adjust the three ingredients to taste, add a sweetener without increasing the alcohol, or chill it with ice. The margarita is a strong drink, so dilution and small servings are important.
Does Mezcal Give You A Hangover
No one wants to wake up feeling awful after a fun night out, and mezcal may be less likely than other spirits to produce a hangover. In an interview with Bon Appetit, mezcal distiller Yola Jimenez pointed to mezcals purity as the reason it causes fewer hangovers. Many alcohols have a ton of sugar and other chemicals.
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Consider Ethics And Sustainability
Aside from what’s actually in the tequila, it’s also important to remember the ethics behind a brand. “When it comes to buying a ‘healthy’ tequila, I’d challenge you to dig into how it’s made by the producer and if they’re ethically and sustainably sound,” says bartender, consultant, and drinks writer Tyler Zielinski. “If the brand treats their employees well and lists their distiller’s name on the bottle, has a sound plan for farming their agave and ensure the soil is healthy and agave are able to reach full maturity , and is 100 percent blue weber agave tequila with a NOM on the label , then you can trust that the brand is producing a product worth drinking.”
When in doubt, research a tequila distillery or email them to ask about their cultivating and distilling process, says Glasman. “If they’re reluctant to answer your questions, then it’s most likely that they’re hiding something.”
Reminder: Your spending power helps can help make an impact, even in its own small way. “The brand you choose can shape the industry as a whole,” says Fodor. “Do you want to drink cheap but overpriced additive-heavy tequila or traditional ones capturing the essence of the agave made by passionate, small, local businesses? By buying these bottles, you’re supporting an indie traditional and local tequila producer directly for producing a unique ,authentic tequila.”
Are All Tequilas Made Of 100 Percent Blue Weber Agave
Nearly all premium tequilas are made entirely from blue Weber agave , but there’s another category of tequila called “mixto” in which blue Weber agave need only compose 51 percent of the spirit. Producers utilize various types of sugar to make up the remaining percentage, including high fructose corn syrup and molassesalthough sometimes a lightly processed Mexican cane sugar known as piloncillo is what’s used. If your bottle doesn’t indicate on the label that it’s made from 100 percent agaveand if the price is on the lower end of the spectrumthere’s a good chance that you’re dealing with a mixto. While less expensive, these tequilas don’t reflect a historically anthentic approach to the composition of the spirit.
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If Your Tequila Isnt 100 Percent Blue Agave Its Not Worth Drinking
High-end tequila is meant to be sipped, not shot.
If you consider yourself to be a tequila drinker , then there are a couple basic facts that you should know about the spirit. One, there are three primary varieties: blanco , reposado , and añejo . And two, you should never, ever drink a tequila that doesnt say 100 Percent Agave, 100 Percent Blue Agave, 100 Percent Agave Azul, or something along those lines on the label. Heres why.
Lets start by explaining exactly what tequila is. The process used to make real tequila starts with the blue agave, a relative of the aloe plant, and by law it must be grown in the state of Jalisco or a handful of otherMexican municipalities. The sharp leaves of the plant are cut away, leaving only the heart of the plant, called the piña, behind. These piñas, which can weigh up to several hundred pounds, are heated and pressed, and the resulting juice is distilled into tequila. And thats it. Its 100 percent blue agave because the tequila is made with only the juice of blue agaves. Pretty straightforward.
Teremana Small Batch Tequila
The Rocks premium tequila brand has been flying off store shelves ever since its launch last March. Now, fans of Dwayne Johnson and tequila alike can purchase Teremana online and get it delivered to their door.
The ultra-premium highlands tequila uses all the beverage buzz words, like small batch production, and distilled in handmade copper pot stills. But beyond the hype, its a smooth, easy to drink option naturally sweetened with the rich aroma of mature agave plants, with a clean finish.
The name, Johnson explains, was inspired by his Polynesian background. TERA means of the Earth and MANA is our powerful Polynesian spirit that guides us. Spirit of the Earth, he says.
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Casa Noble Tequila Crystal
The clean, crisp taste of our Blanco tequila celebrates the fresh flavor of the noble Blue Weber Agave. Enticing aromas set the palate for flavors of honey, buttery-sweet cooked agave, and a hint of citrus. Triple distilled for a well-balanced and smoother-than-glass finish this Blanco is in a class by itself.
Casa Noble Tequila Crystal is tequila made from 100% USDA-certified organic blue agave. This tequila is triple-distilled, giving it a very smooth flavor with hints of honey, citrus, and of course, agave. Learn how to make a margaritablended, on the rocks and virgin.
Casa Noble Crystal Blanco Tequila 750ml
Jose Cuervo Especial Silver Tequila
Love it or hate it, Jose Cuervo is one of the most successful tequila brands worldwide, and this tequila is a staple go-toreadily available at any bottle shop for a quick mix-in for those taco-and-marg nights. The light peppery and citrus notes in this quintessential tequila blends well with the flavours of your classic margarita. Shop it here.
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Image credit: supplied
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Corazon Single Estate Aejo
This single-estate tequila was one of the best and least expensive añejos we tasted. Bright gold, with warm aromas of cooked agave, sugar cookie, and caramel, its easy on the palate, then sneaks in for a spicy finish on the sides of the tongue and cheeks. Sip this by a campfire or on the beach. Average price: $36.
Best Reposado: Espoln Tequila Reposado
Espolon is definitely my favorite inexpensive tequila, says Kira Calder, general manager of Lona Cocina & Tequileria in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The reposado is rested in American oak barrels, which creates subtle notes of vanilla and caramelperfect for spirit-forward tequila cocktails. All of its expressions are delicious and highly underrated.
The tequila, which is aged between two and four months in white oak barrels, “is a great sipper,” says The Holler’s Ray. It has a touch of sweetness and citrus. Its best with just a few ice cubes, although I also suggest drinking it with a lemon peel to bring out the citrus notes.
Beyond a bartender co-sign, this bottle has received many medals awarded at international spirits competitions. The design on the label features a tribute to Mexican culture, inspired by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada.
The crystal-clear Bribon is unaged with vegetal earthy notes that work well in a margarita, paloma, or old-fashioned, though Jessica Fallon, general Manager of Ladybirds in Houston, Texas, says she prefers drinking it on the rocks.
Bribon is a solid tequila for its price, says Fallon. Its a tequila I recommend to new agave drinks because its approachable and has a bright flavor.
Bottles of Bribon are produced at the historic Casa Don Roberto distillery in the heart of Tequila town.
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A Little Bit About Agave
Agave is a succulent that was once considered the most sacred plant in Mexican pre-Columbian cultures , explains Adam Fodor, founder of the International Tequila Academy. “Its leaves were used to create roofing, clothes, ropes, and paper,” he says. Out of more than 200 species of agave, nearly 160 species can be found in its native Mexico. “The middle part, which we refer to as ‘piña’ or ‘corazón’ can be cooked and chewed on,” says Fodor. Tequila is derived from cooking the “piña” before distilling it at least twice.
ICYDK, raw agave is prized for its nutritious health benefits. “Agavin, the natural sugar found in the sap of the raw agave plant, is believed to behave like a dietary fiber which may improve glycemic control and boost satiety ,” says Eve Persak, M.S., R.D.N. Preliminary studies suggest raw agave sap also contains modest amounts of prebiotics , saponins , antioxidants and plant-based iron , she says.